According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission and Fisher-Price, in the last decade, at least 13 infants have died while reclining in a Fisher-Price Infant-to-Toddler Rocker or Newborn-to-Toddler Rocker.
“Just three years ago, this agency oversaw the recall of the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play after a staggering number of infant deaths. Tragically, we now grieve 13 more infant deaths in Fisher-Price Rockers,” CPSC commissioner Rich Trumka Jr. explained.
Rockers for babies are designed to gently swing back and forth, delivering a peaceful, tranquil action that helps babies relax. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, other baby products with an incline include baby bouncers, infant positioners, and inclined sleepers, sometimes known as baby nests, docks, pods, loungers, or nappers.
Trumka said, “No inclined product, made by Fisher-Price or any other company, is safe for infant sleep. Only a firm, flat surface is safe. He urged the public to report any incidents involving infant rockers to the CPSC at www.saferproducts.gov.
Consumers were also encouraged to call Fisher-Price at 800-432-5437 to report any incidences and to visit the company’s Safe Start webpage for safety videos and suggestions.
Trumka said the deaths were identified more than two months ago but that the agency could not notify the public owing to a “gag rule,” which prevents the CPSC from disclosing unfavorable information about a product or company until the company has had a chance to respond.
Despite Fisher-Price cooperation, “we fought an uphill battle to release this information to warn parents and caregivers,” he said. “When CPSC needs to warn the public about a pattern of death and injury tied to a product, it should be able to quickly issue that warning to prevent further loss of life.”
“Congress must immediately repeal the Gag Rule,” Trumka added. “If CPSC cannot issue timely warnings, dangers will remain hidden in people’s homes.”
In a statement, Teresa Murray, head of the Consumer Watchdog office of the US Public Interest Research Group Education Fund, said, “It makes me sick inside to think that babies may have died after authorities were investigating suspicious deaths involving rockers,” Murray said. “Commissioner Trumka is right: Congress should take action to revoke what the CPSC calls the ‘gag rule’ so regulators who want to protect us can do their jobs properly.”
“Infants who fall asleep in an inclined or upright position should be moved to a safe sleep environment with a firm, flat surfaces such as a crib, bassinet, or play yard,” the agency stated. “Only use a fitted sheet and never add blankets, pillows, padded crib bumpers, stuffed animals and toys, or other items. Always place a baby to sleep on his back.”
“I also want to highlight the new rule on infant sleep products that will require that sleep products have a sleep surface angle of 10 degrees or less and that all sleep products conform to the existing bassinet, crib, or play yard standard,” said Alexander Hoehn-Saric, chair of CPSC.
“The rule goes into effect on June 23 and will be an important step to help parents and caregivers keep babies safer,” he added. “The CPSC will aggressively enforce the rule to protect the most vulnerable among us, our children.”